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The Hound

Game of Thrones
by yo go re

Grarr! Bread good, fire bad!

For all that George RR Martin's characters live in a crapsack world full of the most horrible, heartwrenching deaths, there aren't a lot of legitimately "evil" characters. Sure, there's Joffrey, who's just an utter bastard, but most everyone else is eventually shown to have some redeeming qualities. Take, for instance, Sandor Clegane - The Hound.

When we first meet The Hound, he's Joffrey's bodyguard, and he seems like just as much of an asshat as his charge. He kills a boy for no reason, and doesn't appear to care at all. He's big and imposing clearly enjoys killing... but as the story goes on, we learn more about him, and while he's still not a good guy, he's at least got understandable motivations. Eventually he's sympathetic enough to end up on a buddy comedy road trip with a little girl and everybody loves it.

At the rate it's going, Game of Thrones seems to be on track to eventually employ every working actor in the British Isles. With that in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Sandor is an actor you might have seen before. Remember Michael Armstrong, the "yarp" guy in Hot Fuzz? This is him! The toy's likeness is good, but needs work.

Like Jon Snow, he's brought down by his paint. There's no sort of variation in the skintone where his scar is, and he has two eyebrows when he should have one. One of our readers took a crack at it, and the difference is amazing. In the books, The Hound is described almost like Two-Face:

The left side of his face was a ruin. His ear had been burned away; there was nothing left but a hole. His eye was still good, but all around it was a twisted mass of scar, slick black flesh hard as leather, pocked with craters and fissured by deep cracks that gleamed red and wet when he moved. Down by his jaw, you could see a hint of bone where the flesh had been seared away.

But neither the show nor the toy go that far.

The Hound has no patience for knights and their supposed code of honor, so he refuses to be knighted or take holy vows. Therefore, he's not wearing any particularly fancy armor, just a mail shirt, pauldrons, couters, vambraces, gauntlets, and greaves. The sculpting is just as good here was it was with the Lord of the Rings figures from ToyBiz, all intricately detailed and yet hanging like the real items would on a human body. It's excellent work.

The toy stands 6⅝" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. A lot of the joints are made from clear plastic, so beware of breakage. He's armed with two swords, for some reason - one on his back, another at his waist. They can both be removed from their scabbards, and worked into his hands if you're careful. Additionally, he comes with his helmet, a removable piece with a hinged visor designed to look like a canine. How appropriate!

Sandor Clegane is a much more nuanced character than he originally seemed to be, and this is a good action figure of him.

-- 06/12/14

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